FORMER PORTAGE COUNTY OFFICIAL
SEE ENTIRE PRESS CONFERENCE
STARK COUNTY DOG WARDEN
"Not even close," Stark County Commissioner Tom Bernabei told the SCPR when asked about comparing the newly hired Jon Barber to the other six applicants for the position of Stark County dog warden.
Not only as compared to the six others, but when the field was whittled down to two. Still, Bernabei said, Barber was the obvious choice.
This evaluation even though Barber was summarily dismissed about several months ago as director of the Portage County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Department.
As readers of the SCPR will note from the press conference video posted below, Barber addressed his dismissal as his not having a clue as to why he was dismissed.
The suggested implication (from what Bernabei told The Report; not Barber) is that his dismissal may have been politically motivated.
Here is a LINK to another Record-Courier piece (PORTAGE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS NAME INTERIM EMA LEADER, Mike Sever, May 29, 2013) regarding the Barber dismissal which has an interesting comment at the bottom made by a Sydney Harrison of Kent, Ohio.
Bernabei also alluded to prior employment difficulty (a number of years ago) that he says Barber has had but assured yours truly commissioners have vetted him on such.
Moreover, Stark County's new warden handled the matter to the commissioners' satisfaction and that they are confident that he is indeed "the best hire"
Watch as Commissioners Bernabei and Regula consider and pass the resolution hiring Barber and remarks by Barber himself.
After the commissioners' action, the SCPR and other area media folks (Kelli Young of The Repository, Laurie Huffman of the Alliance Review and Nancy Molnar of Beacon Journal did a press conference with the new dog warden.
In the video (which is posted at the end of this blog), Barber answered a bevy of questions regarding his:
- Impressions of the Stark County Dog Pound on first visiting the facility,
- Immediate prior employment with Portage County,
- Total employment history,
- Plans to commute daily from Edinburg Township,
- Stint as president of the Ohio Dog Wardens Association,
- Involvement with the Happy Trails Animal Sanctuary located in Ravenna,
- Becoming aware of the opening for a Stark County dog warden,
- Working with unions (non-management employees of the SCDP are Teamster union members),
- Surprise to note the longevity of a goodly number of Pound employees,
- Specific experience of having been Portage County dog warden in 1995,
- Take on the "hot button issues" in Pound (he prefers to think of dog pounds as being kennels/shelters) concerning the operations,
- Awareness of historical problems specific to the Stark County Dog Pound,
- Interaction with and take on Pound volunteers (e.g. Friends of the Pound),
- Interest in pursuing a "spay and neutering" program at the SCDP,
- Look at handling difficulties between the unionized workers at the Pound and the volunteers,
- Belief in transparency in government ("I work for the citizens of Stark County,"
- Commitment to the public that dogs which go through the SCDP to get "the best in care,"
- Plans regarding the SCDP working with animal rescue operations and finding other opportunities to place dogs for adoption,
- Thoughts on euthanasia policy, and
- Securing compliance with dog licensing requirements.
The Stark County commissioners seem to be on a roll in terms of making quality hires for county operations under their control.
But as Commissioner Bernabei is fond of reminding new hires of, each and every one of them are on probation for a period of time.
And the SCPR gets the impression that the new hires are looked at very closely during the probation period inasmuch as the commissioners appear to want to avoid making a mistake.
Indications are that the commissioners have been satisfied with the job recently resigned (August 9th) Reagan Tetreault did for the county. However, she was not this set of commissioners' hire.
Accordingly, they have much more at stake in terms of assessing whether or not they demonstrate good judgment in hiring this new warden.
Only time will tell.
Here is the full Jon Barber interview.